IS A CURE FOR BLINDNESS REALLY A MIRACLE?
Muse Science Magazine for Kids|January 2022
MOST PEOPLE WHO SEE FEEL LOST AND HELPLESS WHEN EVERYTHING IS DARK.

They would want their vision back if they ever lost it. In many fables and stories, a blind person miraculously sees the world again, or for the first time. In real life, could this miracle actually happen?

Several new technologies can treat or reverse certain forms of vision loss. But none of these technologies is perfect. Most come with risks and restore only glimpses of light and shadow. How do they work? And how do people with vision loss feel about these so-called "cures”?

Bionic Eyes

As of 2002, people with vision loss can get an implant that hacks their visual system. The device captures sights and sends them to the brain. During surgery, a doctor puts a very tiny set of electrodes onto the retina at the back of the patient's eye. Then, the patient has to wear a pair of glasses that contains a camera and computer chip. The camera captures visual information and the computer chip sends signals to the electrodes. The electrodes provide the brain with some very basic visual information. "It's not going to be vision like you and I have, where we see colors and shapes and images," says Jennifer Lim, an eye doctor at University of Illinois Health. "It's more of a pixelated type vision that they see, but it's really a great scientific advancement"

This type of implant only works if a person's retina still functions. In some forms of blindness, that isn't the case. So, some researchers are working on implants that would go onto a person's brain instead. Brain surgery is riskier than eye surgery. But the risks seemed worth it for the volunteers testing these new implants.

Creating LightSensitive Cells

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